Updated: Mar 25
Hurt people hurt people.
This is a phrase I picked up along my journey that always felt true to me. For a long time, I interpreted this to mean that I could avoid people who were hurt to save myself being hurt. If you think about the nature of humanity, you'll realize that's impossible. I have yet to meet a person who hasn't been hurt by someone or something in this lifetime. You simply can't avoid being hurt.
As humans, I think we do everything in our power to do just that. We hide, cover, manipulate all in the name of 'Good vibes only!' and 'No drama' mantras. Somewhere we picked up this idea that being mentally healthy means never being in pain.
In therapy and practicing my spirituality, I've found the opposite. The years spent smiling and focusing on being happy and only having 'positive' emotions were the ones I was suffering from deep and dark depression. Now, I cry, I get angry but I have a peace and happiness that lasts longer than those emotions ever do. So those emotions are like signposts telling me to slow down, turn right, or EXIT NOW! Those emotions are not negative or positive, they just are. Guiding me to understand what path I want to take.
Because of this, I think it's less hurt people hurt people and it's really the instinct to hide or ignore your hurt that ends up hurting people, yourself, and others. So often we avoid our own pain by inflicting pain on others, consciously or not. This can happen on societal levels, organizational levels, and personal levels. It's happened many times before in many other places at many other times. I see this happening on a large scale in the U.S.
We are a nation in pain.
I keep reminding myself this every time my pain rears up its head looking to strike out on someone or something. They are in pain. Together, we are hurting.
I'm still trying to find that line of not accepting the words and behaviors that dehumanize us because of our country of origin, race, gender, sexuality, religion, or any other myriad of things we use to arbitrarily divide us. While also being clear that those ideas of inferiority are what I'm fighting against, not the people who have been swayed by them.
It's really painful work. It hurts. Even writing this is uncomfortable for me seeing all the work we need to do for equality. I don't want to give a pass for such rotten ideas or the pain that affects us all when one espouses them. So I sit with the pain. Knowing my brothers and sisters are too. Knowing that some of them are causing more pain by trying to hide from it.
I can't make it all go away, but I hope in each moment with others, I choose to love more than blame. To remember this Ubuntu philosophy "I am because you are, you are because I am".